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Thread: Silverton, CO

  1. #1

    Silverton, CO

    On a recent visit to southwest Colorado, we decided to take the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Rail Road to Silverton, a 50-mile 3.5 hour scenic rail trip that offers breathtaking views of the Animas River and the adjacent mountains and mountain lakes. The train passes through no towns or villages along the way, although it does stop at two trailheads. Much of the Animas is whitewater, but we never saw anybody shooting the rapids during our trip, which lasted just short of four hours due to brake problems.

    Wiki says of Silverton:

    The Town of Silverton is a Statutory Town that is the county seat of, and the only incorporated municipality in, San Juan County, Colorado, United States.[8] Silverton is a former silver mining camp, most or all of which is now included in a federally designated National Historic Landmark District, the Silverton Historic District. The town population was 531 at U.S. Census 2000.[9]
    Silverton is linked to Durango by the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a National Historic Landmark. Silverton no longer has active mining, but subsists by tourism, maintenance of US 550 (which links Montrose with Durango via Silverton), mine pollution remediation, and retirees.
    The town is laid out on a standard grid, with wide rights-of-way and mostly unpaved streets. Sidewalks are concrete Ė a recent concession to the tourism trade, as I heard from a local. Alleys provide access to the rear of frontage properties and most utilities are in the alleys as well. The built environment of the downtown is in an excellent state of preservation and I only recall seeing one modern building amongst the downtown fabric.

    Building materials ranged from frame with wood siding, masonry (including brick, red sandstone and grey sandstone) and cast iron. Indeed, the cast iron fronts were quite impressive although I only saw a makerís mark on one (from Durango) but none from the major mid-west fabrication centers such as Evansville or Louisville. Many of the frame buildings were painted in bright colors, while the masonry buildings were trimmed with similar colors. It must be satisfying during the greys of winter: in summer it is rather bright. Styles include Second Empire, Italianate, Neo-Classical, as well as some vernacular forms.

    The town does indeed subsist on tourism these days. Restaurants and bars, hotels, souvenir and tee-shirt shops, a train memorabilia shop (or two), and ice cream/snack shops are pretty much the only businesses we saw in the downtown. (Admittedly, we were there for just a few hours.) If there was a grocery store, or a pharmacy, or a bank (aside from the ubiquitous ATMs downtown), they werenít in downtown per se. Other than places named Holiday World or Six Flags, Silverton is the only place Iíve ever visited that seemingly existed exclusively to separate me from my money.

    Off-topic:
    Let me apologize in advance for a smudge on my lens visible in several images. I didn't notice it until I downloaded the images. They shouldn't mar your viewing experience.

















    The Planning Department must be on the second floor



    Parked across the street from City Hall: no coincidence, IMO:





    Wait, is that one of zmanís renegade pooches?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Thanks for sharing, Gedunker. Silverton is a great little city, as are many out that way. I hope you had the chance to get a little further north to Ouray to visit the hot springs. That is a gorgeous part of Colorado.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

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    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    My family used to vacation in Durango. I've ridden the narrow-gauge railroad to Silverton twice. It was pretty darn cool. For a boy who loved the West, it was pretty cool to trod the same streets as Bat Masterson.

    We went to Durango in the winter one year and I took a picture of the locomotive covered with snow. Probably the best photograph I ever took (I was eleven).

    Our trips to Durango/Mesa Verde/Silverton were the foundation for me becoming a lover of the American West.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

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    Cyburbian Plus
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    I agree with Cardinal and otterpop on Southwest CO.

    I had not driven US 550 in the winter time. Been told it is .
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

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    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Wow! It looks like a true Wild West town, and a very well preserved one. Take away the cars and it would be a scene out of an old western movie. Love the steam train.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    Thanks for sharing, Gedunker. Silverton is a great little city, as are many out that way. I hope you had the chance to get a little further north to Ouray to visit the hot springs. That is a gorgeous part of Colorado.
    My pleasure and it is indeed a gorgeous part of the country. Unfortunately, we didn't make to Ouray -- next time for sure.

    Quote Originally posted by Rygor View post
    Wow! It looks like a true Wild West town, and a very well preserved one. Take away the cars and it would be a scene out of an old western movie. Love the steam train.
    Locomotive 842 was built in Baltimore in 1914 (IIRC) and it is indeed a steamer. Those of you that have ridden in the open gondolas will remember the soot and ash: it gets everywhere, including your eyes, (which is why they sell glasses before the train departs).

  7. #7
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    Locomotive 842 was built in Baltimore in 1914 (IIRC) and it is indeed a steamer. Those of you that have ridden in the open gondolas will remember the soot and ash: it gets everywhere, including your eyes, (which is why they sell glasses before the train departs).
    We rode the gondola car when we took the train. You had the best view, except when you were blinking the soot out of your eyes.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

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